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Prompted by Ray's recent comment about the failure to recall the lessons of Vietnam resulting in mistakes in Iraq, and our indifference to the welfare of our soldiers, I submit this short verse:
Please go fight the things we fear, While we stay home and cheer.
We'll try to catch the highlights on tv. Would you tell us how it ends?
That's too bad you lost your friend. Since that thing in Vietnam
We just can't seem to win.
Looks like we made the same mistakes again.
Saturday's strip isn't the first time GBT has used that iimage from Saigon. But it was bittersweet to see on Christmas Eve. The man who took that photo was a dear friend of mine, who had choice words about war -- including the current ones. He and his wife threw the best Christmas Eve parties. He's gone now and we all truly miss him.
Bravo, Mr. Trudeau. Ray tap tap tapping away on his smartphone symbolizes I think not just the modern distraction as we ignore the reality around us, but perhaps the story of history itself and how it's inherently structured to repeat itself.
The two events are not quite the same, but metaphors seldom are. The images that remain with me from 1975 were the faces of terrified civilians unable to get on the last helos out. This time, the faces of the natives are ungrateful and angry, as if to say: "Don't let the door of your Hummer hit you on your backside as you leave."
Today's strip set off an unexpected flow of tears. I know where I was in 1975, and I know many of us (wives, sweethearts, mothers) as well as soldiers will never get over it. To those who were in Vietnam and those who were at home waiting, please know you are not forgotten. Thank you and Merry Christmas.
In terms of the future B.D. refers to in today's strip, what I dread developing is a situation with corporate contractors and mercenaries being captured by one of the Iraqi factions, or becoming snared in the legal system of Iraq for their actions. While I will support the extraction of all our men and women in uniform from Iraq, i firmly believe that the corporate employees have no right to expect such support from the U.S. government. Halliburton and the latest Blackwater manifestation are responsible for cleaning up that mess.
I love this from B.D. today after calling the professor a "surrender monkey." It's a damned sin that the soldiers get low pay and have to fight the system for benefits and care while our tax dollars go to the mercs.
The quote in the first panel of today's strip comes from "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush," Ron Suskind's terrifying article in the NYT Magazine of October 17, 2004. Here's the full quote, which reveals just how delusional that administration was: "In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency. The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'" My guess is that the senior aide was Karl Rove, but who knows? They were all crazy.
Saddam was the enemy of our enemy in the 80s and that was good enough for us to look the other way then when it served our purpose. Make no mistake; when Bush mentioned "imminent threat" in 2003, he was setting in motion something all the war architects in his administration had been planning in one way or another for a long time.
Why wasn't Colin Powell on the list?
The war in Iraq was a huge waste of time, resources, and most importantly lives. There is absolutely no evidence that Saddam had any intent to make war beyond his borders, barring interference from the US. Our youth has no responsibility to be corporate muscle for oil companies. nor do we have the duty to sacrifice our people for some politician's goals, or perceived threats. Saddam was our ally up until a short time before he (stupidly) invaded Kuwait. His actions and policies did not magically change in that time frame.
Today's strip is excellent in naming the names that must be remembered for the travesty of the Iraq war. Thank you. Where is the Wall of Shame in Washington, DC? Never forget. Never forget.
The Iraq invasion was in my opinion a colossal mistake that cost over 4,500 American lives and untold wealth. The terrorist organization known as al-Qaeda, led by the late and unlamented Saudi Arabian thug Osama bin Laden, attacked us on that fateful September day. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan supported and protected them. These were the people we should have tracked down and killed instead of getting sidetracked into launching an ill-advised military adventure into Iraq.
Bin Laden was and al-Qaeda continues to be the real threat to us and our allies, as evidenced by the attacks from London to Bali, from Mindanao to Yemen, and from Somalia to Mumbai. Saddam was an obnoxious tyrant that was an irritant to the Bush/Cheney administration but was no immediate threat to us, except to hurl empty threats that our intelligence people suspected were hollow. The President and the Pentagon civilian leadership ignored the intelligence community's recommendations and advice, depending upon what they later claimed to be "faulty intelligence" to justify launching the war.
Iraq's neighboring countries of Iran, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, all of them hostile to him, had Saddam completely contained. He had lost most of his army in a long bloody war with Iran. He had lost almost all of his air power and most of his armored forces in the disastrous foray into Kuwait.
The Bush administration however considered him to be an ongoing threat. Vice President Cheney continued to try to conflate Saddam with the al-Qaida organization, all the while playing on the unreasoning fear and paranoia that had many Americans willing to support almost anything thay thought might keep them safe from harm. What a pitiful display of cowardice. This war was a disaster foisted on the American people by a group in Washington that was more concerned with their own political prospects than the welfare of the country.
No matter what kind of thug Saddam Hussein was and what kind of insanity he probably planned, the true destabilization of the Middle East is yet to come. Iran has been rattling more than sabres for a long while now, but the backing they have from both Russia and China makes them far more a threat on a much larger scale than Hussein ever was. As for placing responsibility for the current fiasco and those that will inevitably come out of our adventure in Iraq, thanks for reminding us where that really lies. Now if one or, dare I whisper it, all of them, would just "man up" and take the rap...Nah! It'll never happen.
I don't see anyone in the strip questioning the idea that the US invasion of Iraq was "the biggest foreign policy disaster," so I'm pushed to believe that Garry Trudeau thinks it's a worse disaster than: US involvement in the coup against Mohammad Mosaddegh, popularly elected Prime Minister of Iran; any of the times our policy was "We'll support baby-eaters so long as they're anti-communist," as if that were the only choice; failure to uphold treaties with Native Americans, thus consigning them to generational poverty and robbing all of their productive potential; invading Canada, in two wars, and failing miserably; the Hawley-Smoot Tariff, by which we played a part in ensuring a tariff war and worldwide depression and providing fertile, desperate ground for the rise of fascism; isolationism in face of that same rise of fascism; failure to prevent the communist takeover of China (the most polluted country on Earth), probably by uncritically backing a corrupt Chiang, as if that were the only alternative. Maybe Garry is too close to the problem, having reached out, in genuine respect, to the troops who see all the ugly details. I suggest stepping back and getting a broader perspective.
I had no problems with airport security; I took off my shoes like they asked. That's when I got in trouble with the EPA.
You forgot George Tenant and Colin Powell in your list of those responsible for the Iraq invasion.
Today's comment on the architects of the Iraq war left Colin Powell off the list. Given his embarrassing and career-ending speech to the UN in 2003 that served as justification for invasion, he must be included, lest we forget that people perceived as good can be co-opted to cover wrongs.
The biggest foreign policy disaster in history? At a cost of over 4,000 American lives, a sadistic, ruthless dictator was overthrown and replaced with a democratic government. Compare that with a cost of over 50,000 American lives for which we accomplished nothing and left Vietnam to a communist regime. And that's just in my lifetime, not all of American history. You might consider the war in Iraq a mistake, I do not. But if you think it was a bigger mistake than Vietnam then your Bush hating has gone way overboard. I'll even give you another in my lifetime that was a tremendous foreign policy disaster: President Kennedy supported an invasion of Cuba, promising military intervention as needed. Instead, he left the invaders to die on the beach at the Bay of Pigs.